Richardson, R. and Stewart, T., "Semi-Automated Fastener Installation for Cases When Full Automation is Not Practical," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-1857, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1857.
Although robots and other automation-related technologies have made tremendous improvements in recent years, there are still many cases where a fully automated system is impractical. Reasons for this impracticability are widely varied but include: a production rate that will not support an adequate business case for a costly, fully automated system, the risk of an error is too great to bear, or part variability from ship-to-ship requires significant real-time decision making that can be challenging for a robot.Three-dimensional, optically projected work instructions can offer a practical solution that provides a significant benefit to the aircraft manufacturer at a price that is approximately 10% of the cost of a fully automated system. In many applications, the semi-automated solution will result in a production rate that is equal to the fully automated system. The more complicated the assembly process is - for example, a high part number count of widely varying sizes- the better the relative production rate will be for the semi-automated system.This paper covers example cases where semi-automation is a preferred solution, risk mitigation of optical projection, quality assurance, and cost analysis.